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Government collapses in the Netherlands

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government collapsed Saturday after the Labor Party refused a NATO request to extend the country's military stay in Afghanistan.

"Where trust is lacking, an attempt to reach an agreement on content is doomed to fail in advance," Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said after a 16-hour Cabinet meeting in The Hague. "It would just be a prelude to new controversies in the future."

Balkenende offered the resignation of Labor Party ministers to Queen Beatrix and put the functions of the remaining Cabinet members at her disposal, spokesman Henk Brons said. The queen will meet with Balkenende, the deputy prime ministers and advisers on Feb. 22, the queen's Cabinet said in a statement.

Nigeria waits to gauge new president's work

LAGOS, Nigeria — Since becoming acting president, Goodluck Jonathan has removed a senior official and insisted on punctuality, but the country is waiting to see if he can tackle bigger issues like rampant corruption and bringing peace to troubled regions.

Parliament on Feb. 9 formally named the 52-year-old vice president and former governor as acting president, replacing — at least temporarily — President Umaru Yar'Adua who is hospitalized in Saudi Arabia with a serious heart condition. Without mounting a campaign or establishing a platform, Jonathan inherited an oil-rich, fragile democracy, leaving the nation of 150 million wondering what his leadership will bring.

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